27 June 2008

Promoting Meistersinger on YouTube

Katharina & Co have understood it. The live streaming of Meistersinger 27 July is being promoted on YouTube, MySpace and maybe other places as well. It's free, so why not more companies use these channels is a riddle to me. I like the new line on the Green Hill.

24 June 2008

Wolfgang Wagner's Ring production 1974

Two clips from Wolfgang Wagners production of Der Ring des Nibelungen (1970-1975). As far as I can tell, it is Franz Mazura who is Alberich (in 1974 he was alternating with Gustav Neidlinger). Theo Adam is Wotan. In the Götterdämmerung clip we see Jean Cox as the dying Siegfried, apparently having just been to the hairdresser and spent a lot of money to make his hair look like a carrot cake.

Jean Cox was one of the singers Wolfgang Wagner mentioned when we asked him to tell about some of his highlights as Festival leader (back in 1997). He also mentioned the wonderful Swedish soprano Catarina Ligendza, now living somewhere in southern Germany playing golf and riding horses. She was 70 last year. Wolfgang Wagner also mentioned Waltraud Meier.

Fredric Spotts writes in his book Bayreuth - A History of the Wagner Festival:
"Although a marked improvement on its 1960 predecessor, the Ring neither offended nor enraptured. The audience was no longer challenged to ponder archetypal symbols or social messages but was left to sit back and enjoy straightforward opera theatre."

23 June 2008

Amanda Mace injured

The Eva in Katharina Wagner's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Amanda Mace, is injured and will be replaced by Michaela Kaune, who should have sung Gutrune in Tankred Dorst's Ring production, Festspiele.de reports. The new Gutrune will be Edith Haller, who is well known in Bayreuth, having sung Freia, Helmwige, 3. Norn and Gutrune. Haller's Bayreuth debut was in 2006.

Watch Katharina's Meistersinger on your PC

Katharina Wagner's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg will be aired live on 27 July for those with a broadband connection. The same performance can be viewed on a big screen in Bayreuth.

The price for viewing Meistersinger on the Internet is rather stiff: 49 euro (approximately 77 USD). And as this is written no information in English is available. Information in English is now available.

The cast

Conductor Sebastian Weigle
Inszenierung Katharina Wagner
Bühnenbild Tilo Steffens
Kostüme Michaela Barth
Hans Sachs Franz Hawlata
Veit Pogner Artur Korn
Kunz Vogelgesang Charles Reid
Konrad Nachtigall Rainer Zaun
Sixtus Beckmesser Michael Volle
Fritz Kothner Markus Eiche
Balthasar Zorn Edward Randall
Ulrich Eisslinger Hans-Jürgen Lazar
Augustin Moser Stefan Heibach
Hermann Ortel Martin Snell
Hans Schwarz Andreas Macco
Hans Foltz Diógenes Randes
Walther von Stolzing Klaus Florian Vogt
David Norbert Ernst
Eva Michaela Kaune Amanda Mace
Magdalene Carola Guber
Ein Nachtwächter Friedemann Röhlig

It is good news that the Bayreuth Festival finally has discovered Internet. Let's hope the Festival's homepage will be redesigned soon, and that more of the vast amount of information about the Festival they possess will be made available for the public.

Read more on live.bayreuther-festspiele.de

21 June 2008

Oslo's New Opera

Den Norske Opera. Foto: Per-Erik Skramstad

I went to the new Opera House today, and finally took some pictures of this fantastic house. It is really beautiful, inside and outside. Please remember sun glasses if you are planning a visit. The white building and the white ground is really straining the eyes.

The program so far has been very disappointing, with no new Norwegian operas, and no exciting productions, at least not for me. The greatest disappointment was the cancelling of a new production of Tannhäuser by Stefan Herheim, who will probably make a scandal in Bayreuth this summer with his time journey Parsifal.

The West-Eastern Divan concert in August (Die Walküre Act 1) is the first event I can't miss. Die Walküre is next must-see - in February 2009. No conductor announced yet, but stage director is Folke Abenius. And this is the cast:
Siegmund: John Keyes
Wotan: Terje Stensvold
Sieglinde: Ingebjørg Kosmo
Brünnhilde: Catherine Foster
Hunding: Carsten Stabell
Fricka: Hege Høisæter
Helmwige: Toril Carlsen
Gerhilde: Ingjerd Oda Mantor
Ortlinde: Itziar Martinez Galdos

Here are some picture:

Den Norske Opera. Foto: Per-Erik Skramstad

Den Norske Opera. Foto: Per-Erik Skramstad

The Car

My car leaves no doubt about what music I like.

Liebestod from Konwitschny's Tristan in Munich

At last a decent video on YouTube from Peter Konwitschny's production of Tristan und Isolde in Munich. Waltraud Meier (see photos), now out with a new Isolde on DVD, in Heiner Müller's Bayreuth production (see photos), filmed in 1995.

Note that it takes 8 seconds before the applause begins, a true sign of a cultivated and mature audience. If you have experienced a long silence after a wonderful performance, you know what I mean. Those seconds can be pure magic.

More versions of Liebestod on Wagneropera.net

17 June 2008

Stefan Herheim has started Bayreuth rehearsals for Parsifal

Stefan Herheim has just started rehearsals for his Parsifal production in Bayreuth. Villa Wahnfried and the Festival House will obviously play an important part of the sets. Will Herheim stage Parsifal as a Strindberg drama with Richard Wagner in one of the main roles? Will we see Cosima wandering around in Bayreuth? Will Adolf Hitler be on the stage? How will the Erlösung theme fit into a stage with recognizable buildings like the Festspielhaus? I have no idea, but I will be there to see the third performance and must say that I am very excited. Will you be there?

Festspiele.de has more
Stefan Herheim
Herheim's Parsifal production in Bayreuth

16 June 2008

Very off topic: Norway

Although I am pretty sure I see Wotan flying around in these mountains, looking for a hero to save the world, I take the liberty of showing you something off topic: some of the things Senta's country has to offer.

Click on the screen, and when YouTube opens, click on the link Watch in high quality (under Views).

(The company Hurtigruten is sailing on the west coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes.)

12 June 2008

The Copenhagen Ring on DVD

The Copenhagen Ring DVD is now ready for pre-order. I haven't seen this production yet, but I am greatly looking forward to seeing it. It has been called "The Feminist Ring", and was very controversial and groundbreaking. The Royal Danish Opera will probably restage it, but nothing is decided yet, they say.

Stage director was Danish Kasper Bech Holten.

You can see photos from the production and read a review by Wagner scholar Erling E. Guldbrandsen (only in Norwegian) on Wagneropera.no.

In the production they actually used a baby. On the production blog you can read about it.

More on Wagneropera.net: The Copenhagen Ring on DVD

Review with production photos

Copenhagen Ring ready for pre-order at Amazon

06 June 2008

Simon O'Neill - not Johan Botha

Simon O'Neill will sing Siegmund in the Walküre Act 1 concert performances in Oslo, Berlin and Paris, not Johan Botha, as was announced some places (Norwegian Opera's homepage for example). Botha's agent says:
These concerts were never confirmed from Mr. Botha's or our side and of course
never negociated. Therefore we are surprised that he was announced for
concerts that have never been fixed.
I had been looking forward to hearing Botha, so this is a slight disappointment, but at the time of the concert in Oslo I will still be recovering from 9 days in Bayreuth, and the real star of the evening for us Waltraudians has confirmed that she will sing, so who cares...

BTW: The concert in Berlin will be filmed for release on DVD.

Den Norske Opera

Unbelieveable as it might seem: Tickets are still available for the Oslo performance 20 August.

The Norwegian National Opera
Daniel Barenboim's Homepage
Waltraud Meier's Homepage
René Pape's Homepage
Simon O'Neill's Homepage

02 June 2008